How Do I Be Positive?

Getting into a cycle of negative and pessimistic thoughts is so easy for me. I look at a situation and can pick out all of the insurmountable challenges.

Whether it’s related to work, writing, relationships or general life, I see life with a negative perspective. It’s like having permanent sunglasses on that prevent me from seeing the positive light shining all around me.

As I’ve written in some previous posts, I am in the process of moving which has been overwhelming. The house my boyfriend and I just purchased was left filthy. I am still shocked that people chose to live in such filthy conditions. The bathtub and dish washer are moldy, all three sinks are grimy, I don’t think they ever cleaned their dryer vent and I feel like I have to wash my hands every few minutes to feel clean.

My negative mindset says, “You’ll be cleaning up these people’s shit forever!” “You’re never going to feel clean in your own home.” “This house was a mistake.” “Why am you so lazy that you can’t clean everything in one go?”

I spoke with my therapist today. She suggested to take each task one step at a time. To compartmentalize instead of looking at the house as one giant task.

It’s hard to look at it positively though when you live in a negative thought cycle.

Do you struggle with negative thinking? How do you change your mindset to think positively?

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22 Replies to “How Do I Be Positive?”

  1. Don’t feel like you have to be positive when you are dealing with annoying things like other people’s messes. To me that is not natural. Accept that you can have negative emotions and still be healthy. I do agree with your therapists suggestions as well. You can also try seeing it from a different perspective, such as 1) You are blessed to have a house. 2)You are blessed to be healthy enough to clean it. 3) You have a boyfriend. 4) The mess doesn’t sound that bad to be honest. In other words, count your blessings. 🙂

    1. What she said.
      That said, if your anxiety / stress is *very* high, drugs may help a bit. I’ve found Rivotril (0.5 mg on mornings) to take the edge of stress and allows me to focus to get things done. Talk to your psych about it. Negatives are it makes me sleepy (my coffee intake is pretty high to counteract this), and coordination can become a bit wonky (though in my case not horribly so).

      I’ve written my experiences with it at https://livingmanicdepressive.rosantal.com/drugs-therapy/4-rivotril-clonazepam

      I’m not evangalising about this as your cure all – but it’s nice to have possible options. Definitely talk to your psych before trying.

      1. Thank you! I’ve taken Larazapam, a have a few left but I try to save them for emergencies. Maybe I need to redefine what that means.

    2. Those are some positive things! The mess could be worse. I guess it’s because I’m not used to messes like this that it makes me frustrated. Thanks for commenting PK!

  2. Yes I do! And I feel like instead of using negative words use positive words. It makes a huge difference. Like instead of saying “what if I doesn’t work out” say “what if it does work out” the change in mindset changes the emotional and physical state…

    1. That really does change things when framing them in a positive way. I’m glad that you are a positive person! Thank you for commenting, A. Rinum!

  3. It is not easy

    You can substitute positive thoughts for negative ones

    For me I took up meditating

    I built my focus strong enough so thoughts faded and I stayed present

    It depends where we place our attention

    Worrying will not gain you one more hour of life on this earth

    It is a worthless emotion

    1. I could win a gold medal in worrying if that was a thing. It is pointless, it does nothing but cause stress on our minds and bodies. Thanks for commenting, Marty!

  4. I struggle with negative thinking a LOT. But, I find that two very important things are helpful.
    (1) Start your day right. I find if I focus on good things in a good place first thing, the rest of the day goes a lot better. If you just moved, maybe try focusing on making the areas you use most your “safe spaces” (your bedroom, kitchen, and *one* bathroom). Clean them first and start your day in these areas. Don’t even think about the other areas until your morning routine is done. Also, do something small for yourself every morning. Personally, I read one Sufi poem every morning. It’s a very small task that allows me to meditate on what is and is not truly important. Only once you are all done setting YOURSELF up should you worry about the tasks for the day.
    (2) If you are like me, and resistant to many common techniques, then simply “pushing” the thoughts away or “turning them into” good thoughts won’t work. That works for many, but not for me. Instead, think the thoughts ALL THE WAY through. For example, if you think, “I’ll never be done cleaning this mess,” don’t let yourself stop there. Question yourself. Is that thought really logical? No, of course not. Even large houses have finite space and, as long as I keep chipping away (even if it’s slowly), I will HAVE to be done sometime. Then, try to figure out where the thought CAME from. You clearly didn’t really believe you would never be done, but why do you feel that way? Is it because you find it frustrating that the task has been left to you or do you simply dislike messes? Dig deeper until you find the root cause of your frustration. Now, this won’t always stop negative thoughts from popping into your head, but it does allow you to do two things. Firstly, it forces you to take the thoughts one at a time, not all at once, which is far less overwhelming. Secondly, it allows you to understand the root cause of the problem better, so you are better prepared to deal with the thought and relevant emotions the next time they pop up. For example, I hate doing the dishes because my family always made me do them, on their schedule and to their taste, growing up. So, I don’t really hate the dishes themselves – I hate the feeling of being completely controlled by others who don’t consider my position. Because I know WHY I hate it, I can remind myself of things to deal with the frustration that comes with doing the dishes now. Things like, “No one is forcing me to do this, I’m doing it because I want the house clean.” Acknowledging I’m in control and that this is the logical way to accomplish MY desired outcome helps keep my frustration at bay. It also keeps me focused on the future – my goals – rather than the past. It’s a lot of work analyzing so many thoughts, but it gets easier with time and, in my opinion, is worth every second of effort.

    1. Also, while I understand the motivation, I don’t buy into things like “worry is a useless emotion.” It’s not a logical thing to say, so I struggle to believe it. There is a reason we evolved to worry; it helped us survive. Worry isn’t useless. It’s good, AT TIMES, to think about the future and plan for things that could go wrong. Example – having a rainy day fund can help when you get in a fender bender. But, it’s important to keep worry in its place. If you worry too much, it will harm rather than help you. So, rather than trying to “get rid” of emotions that you think are undesirable (to “get rid” of who and what you evolved to be – to fight your human nature), I think you should instead learn what the purpose of your emotions are and only listen to those emotions when they are actually serving that purpose. Your emotions are SUPPOSED to help you – even the negative ones. You just have to learn when to listen and when to ignore them.

      1. It can be hard to comprehend that my emotions are here to help when they can be such a hindrance.

    2. Thank you so so so much for your words of wisdom. I adore the idea of setting yourself up in a positive way and going to your safe spaces to begin with. Getting to the root cause of negative thoughts is a great idea. Your comment means so much to me.

  5. Hey Megan, Actually i wrote a small ebook about this, how our mind automatically display the negative thoughts trying to protect us ! this is completely normal in my opinion, but we can change this with practice. Chose to think only about positive things and face one problem at a time ! I know it’s easier said than done, but we all should try to make our mindset change .. and hopefully it will get easier with time.

  6. Absolutely. Changing your mindset is hard – it can’t be done all at once, but over time it can be slowly molded. It’s easier to start slow. Changing one thing, one day at a time. Instead of thinking, “why am I so lazy, why can’t I clean all of this at once?” think, “I’ve done so much work today, I can continue doing more great work tomorrow.” For me, personally, fake-it-til-you-make-it really works. Even if I feel I’m lying to myself, repeating something every day eventually leads me to believing it.

  7. I have been a constant negative thinker my whole life. And I agree with your therapist. I usually breakdown my projects or big tasks into small parts. Then I will write it down step by step. In that way I enjoy the fulfillment of thinking I have done too many small things and it also calm my anxiety. You can do it. 🙂

    1. It’s hard to not think negatively when you’ve done it all your life. Thank you for your positive words and encouragement, CL!

  8. Every day I have negative thoughts. But I dissolve and channelise it to positivity . Either I write down or do some cleaning etc. to eliminate these thoughts

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